Sixteen Deluxe are a psychedelic noise-pop band from Austin, Texas, best known for their energetic, deafening live performances and lysergic studio creations. Formed in April 1994, they began playing live shows in June of that same year, quickly generating a heap of buzz, and filling local clubs with a kinetic mix of sonic assault, pop melodies, smoke, lights, and film projections.
Originally comprising singers/guitarists Carrie Clark and Chris “Frenchie” Smith, bassist Jeff Copas, and a rotating cast of drummers, within a year the group was hailed as the loudest and most exciting on the Austin scene. Early notable gigs included the infamous Red River haunt Chances (presently home to Club DeVille); an impromptu two-song opening slot for Stereolab at Emo's; and a series of guerilla-style invasions of Austin house parties. Butthole Surfer King Coffey's Trance Syndicate label took notice, and sent the band into the studio in August of 1994 to record their debut 7" for the legendary label: "Idea" b/w "Honey", which was lauded by SPIN Magazine as one of the Top 10 Singles of 1995.
Released in May 1995, their debut album Backfeed Magnetbabe was met with near-hysterical critical praise, garnering the band a stack of favorable notices in SPIN, CMJ, and Melody Maker, and widespread college radio airplay. After the video for "Idea" hit rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes, attention reached critical mass, and the band left Austin to spend most of 1995 on tour. They criss-crossed the country throughout the summer, in support slots and headlining club dates, capped off by a memorable month-long jaunt supporting L. A. noisemeisters Medicine. 1995 also saw the release of the Trance compilation, Cinco Anos, with the band contributing two songs to a stellar lineup, including Cherubs, Butthole Surfers, and Roky Erickson.
In October 1996, the band passed over several lucrative offers to sign with Warner Brothers, and Steven T. Hall assumed drumming duties full-time. Recorded in San Francisco in early 1997 with Austin indie legend John Croslin (The Reivers, Spoon, Guided By Voices), major label debut Emits Showers of Sparks proved to be their only release for WB. Released in January 1998, Emits was well-received critically, and showcased Clark’s vocal talents while tempering some of the noisy excesses of previous releases. Despite frequent touring, including successful support gigs with Luna and Jesus & Mary Chain, their Warner’s stay would last just two years, culminating with the band asking to be released from their contract in fall 1998. WB assented, and thanks to a well-written contract, the band set about building their home studio, The Bubble.
They jumped to indie label Sugar Fix for the follow-up EP, The Moonman Is Blue, produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead). Released in November 1999, Moonman was a return to form, featuring studio experimentation, tape manipulation, and an overall noisy, low-fi vibe. The band spent much of the spring and summer of 1999 in The Bubble, building a working studio and recording material for a new album, while touring regionally throughout the year. Near the end of recording the album, Copas left the band, and his bass duties were assumed by Hall, with Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips) temporarily taking over the drum seat. The resulting album, Vision Take Me, Make Me, Never Forsake Me, the band's final and self-produced full length, was then released to much critical acclaim in June of 2000. In July of that year, Carrie Clark left the band, and Sixteen Deluxe was no more.
After a decade apart, Sixteen Deluxe reformed to play a series of gigs in 2010. Their first show, a benefit for SIMS Foundation, took place in front of a packed house at The Mohawk on Red River. The following week, the band returned to action at SXSW 2010, with four gigs in as many days, including Roky Erickson's 8th Annual Psychedelic Ice Cream Social. Later that year saw them back at Club DeVille, on the same stage where they played their first gig in 1994, helping to kick off festivities for that year's FunFunFun Fest. They recently returned to the stage of ND at 501 Studios in January 2012, headlining the K-NACK @20 Reunion Weekend.